In January 1953, singer Patti Page topped the Billboard and Cash Box charts by asking, "How much is that doggie in the window?" The window was the pet shop window.

Remember pet shops?

There was a pet shop in the Dartmouth Mall many years ago, and pet shops existed in most area cities, including New Bedford and Fall River. Some area department stores also sold pets. There was even an aviary on Deane Street and Ashley Boulevard that sold only parakeets.

Back in the day, if you wanted a dog, you bought one at the pet shop, or you visited the Animal Rescue League, where you found a stray or abandoned dog to take home. Simple.

Massachusetts Makes Buying A Dog Difficult And Expensive
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Buying a dog these days is a bit more complicated – and expensive. The Dog People at Rover.com has a site to help walk you through the process.

The site says, "Opening your house to a new pet is an amazing thing to do, and the day you come home from the shelter deserves celebration." But, the Dog People warn, "If you are not prepared, this day can end up being a last-minute scramble to buy supplies and afford adoption fees."

The Dog People suggest you start looking for a dog by "looking through shelters in your county, either online or in person." Once you've found a dog you think you are compatible with, you fill out an application and wait for an "adoption counselor" to contact you.

Massachusetts Makes Buying A Dog Difficult And Expensive
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The counselor will schedule a meeting between you and the dog – assuming the dog is still available. If it is a match, the counselor will contact your landlord (if applicable) and your veterinarian.

Adoption papers are then signed, the adoption fee paid, and a counseling session is scheduled for you to learn about "proper dog ownership." You may then take your dog home.

The fee to adopt your dog can run anywhere from $150 to more than $600, depending on the make, model and age.

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The Dog People website lists potential locations for finding a dog in Massachusetts, veterinary information, and Massachusetts regulations concerning licensing your dog.

There are "dangerous dog laws" in Massachusetts. The Animal Rescue League of Boston offers a breakdown of the laws. And NOLO.com explains the Massachusetts dog-bite laws.

It would be best to read about your responsibilities as a dog owner before purchasing a pet.

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